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Integrative research efforts at the boundary of biodiversity and global change research


Abiven, Samuel; Altermatt, Florian; Backhaus, Norman; Deplazes-Zemp, Anna; Furrer, Reinhard; Korf, Benedikt; Niklaus, Pascal A; Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela; Shimizu, Kentaro K; Zuppinger-Dingley, Debra; Petchey, Owen L; Schaepman, Michael E (2017). Integrative research efforts at the boundary of biodiversity and global change research. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 29:215-222.

Abstract

Global environmental change and biodiversity loss are closely linked through different feedback mechanisms. The University of Zurich Research Priority Programme on ‘Global Change and Biodiversity’ approach is to work with interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity to integrate mechanisms of interactions, feedback and scale and improve our understanding of the feedbacks between global change and biodiversity effects. Such work across research disciplines is not without its challenges. Here we share some of the questions that arose from our research approach over the last five years and how we addressed these challenges. First, our transdisciplinary approach allows combining different disciplines into a more holistic perspective towards integrative research, but demands collaborative work to establish common terminology, concepts, and metrics. Second, the research theme's common perspective (biodiversity is desirable, global change is not) may also induce a confirmation bias from preconceived ideas. Third, new challenges emerge from scaling mechanisms and feedbacks at different spatial and temporal scales. Fourth, we investigate how to relate biodiversity, global change, ecosystem services and functions using interdisciplinary approaches. Fifth, we identify gaps between existing experiments and data requirements, and propose the definition of new experimental setups by linking processes and performing experiments at typical experimental scales as well as at larger scales. We conclude by emphasising the necessity to integrate theory, experiments, modelling and simulation, high performance computing and big data to understand feedbacks between biodiversity loss and processes of global change.

Abstract

Global environmental change and biodiversity loss are closely linked through different feedback mechanisms. The University of Zurich Research Priority Programme on ‘Global Change and Biodiversity’ approach is to work with interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity to integrate mechanisms of interactions, feedback and scale and improve our understanding of the feedbacks between global change and biodiversity effects. Such work across research disciplines is not without its challenges. Here we share some of the questions that arose from our research approach over the last five years and how we addressed these challenges. First, our transdisciplinary approach allows combining different disciplines into a more holistic perspective towards integrative research, but demands collaborative work to establish common terminology, concepts, and metrics. Second, the research theme's common perspective (biodiversity is desirable, global change is not) may also induce a confirmation bias from preconceived ideas. Third, new challenges emerge from scaling mechanisms and feedbacks at different spatial and temporal scales. Fourth, we investigate how to relate biodiversity, global change, ecosystem services and functions using interdisciplinary approaches. Fifth, we identify gaps between existing experiments and data requirements, and propose the definition of new experimental setups by linking processes and performing experiments at typical experimental scales as well as at larger scales. We conclude by emphasising the necessity to integrate theory, experiments, modelling and simulation, high performance computing and big data to understand feedbacks between biodiversity loss and processes of global change.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Mathematics
07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:510 Mathematics
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Social Sciences, General Environmental Science
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:04 Oct 2018 07:50
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 13:34
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1877-3435
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2018.04.016

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